Introduction: KeyPi - a Cheap Portable Raspberry Pi 3 Laptop Under $80

Hi Everyone! Firstly thank you for all the support and feedback, the community here is awesome :)
Here are answers to some questions:

Why did you make this?

I wanted to make a portable computer that had a full sized keyboard. I felt that this form factor was very compact and most of all easy enough for me to actually make.

What can it do?

From my usage experience, I feel it is more suited for tasks such as text editing and tasks you can do using the command line (which is plenty!).

What are you gonna use it for?

Taking notes in my lectures for now. Gonna use it to experiment with linux bash scripts next time to perform more tasks.

How long does the battery last?

On my aging knock-off 18650 battery, they last almost 1 hour before the LCD screen starts flickering and dies.(Latest Test 8 Aug) I will test it soon with a better quality 18650 cell. I hope it will last longer, if not i guess i'll have to use at least two batteries in parallel for a better lifespan :(


Hi Everyone!

I always wanted to make a cheap portable Raspberry Pi computer. There are many Pi Laptops out there but they rarely feature a full-size keyboard with such a form factor. Pardon my sub-par DIY skills and I hope you like this project!


If it's crappy call it a Proof-of-Concept! Hahaha!

Step 1: Parts Needed

Step 2: Tools Needed

  • Pen Knife/Box Cutter
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Wire Cutter
  • Wire Stripper

Wikipedia has the best pictures.

Step 3: Cut Out the Numpad

In order to make space for the Pi and other components, the keyboard's numpad has to be sacrificed haha!

  1. Unscrew the keyboard screws to handle the top body by itself
  2. Pull out the keys
  3. Cut the whole numpad off


Hope you're not fond of numpads hurhur.

Step 4: Position Parts

Experiment with where to position the parts and most importantly make sure you can reassemble the keyboard back up at the end. I cut out additional parts of the keyboard's body structure to make space for the DC Boost converter. Take your time with this!

Step 5: Solder Connections

Time for soldering! Pardon the lack of soldering pictures haha.(Useful basic soldering video guide!)

The most difficult part to solder was the Boost converter's wires to the Pi's test pads (aka PP points *chuckle*). Take your time and hopefully your soldering iron isn't crappy like mine haha!

By soldering to the Pi's test pads, we are able to power the Pi directly without using the microUSB port!


  1. Solder the battery holder to the DC Boost converter connections (Helpful guide on the connections!)
  2. Solder the DC Boost converter to Raspberry Pi connections
    Solder the +5V power wire to the PP1 or PP2 test pads.
    Solder GND(Ground) use the PP3, PP4, PP5 or PP6 test pads. (How to power the Pi directly through test pads!)
  3. Test the whole circuit by powering it up (With a 18650 Battery)
  4. Install the Raspbian OS and boot it up to test the system

Is that a CRT TV? *gasps*

Step 6: Hide Keyboard Wire

Lets hide that long keyboard USB wire by shortening it and running it back into the keyboard itself!


  1. Cut out the USB Connector at end of wire
  2. Run wire back into keyboard
  3. Find out where to trim wire
  4. Trim wire
  5. Solder the wire to the connector and connect to Pi

Exposed? What do you mean exposed... hahaha *hides*

Step 7: Secure Components

I found a tiny bolt and nut that was perfect to secure the Pi to the keyboard's base. I aligned one of the Pi's screw holes to a screw hole on the keyboard's base (quite lucky) and fastened it together.


Wait is that bluetack?

Step 8: Reassemble Keyboard

Pray that it powers on.

Step 9: Add the Screen


After a request by some to explain how to install the LCD screen, I have decided to go more into it!

I will post the instructions soon. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Step 10: Enjoy Your KeyPi!

And you're done!

Thank you for having a look at my project, have a nice day!


What can I even do with this thing...

Step 11: Problems You May Encounter

1) The UK/US keyboard formatting problem
The Problem: Typing the character '@' somehow produces the character ' " '.
The Solution: Change your keyboard layout

  1. Open up the terminal (ctrl + alt + t)
  2. Type in sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration and hit enter
  3. Scroll to Logitech Generic Keyboard and hit enter
  4. You will see either a list of UK or US options, scroll to other and hit enter.
  5. Scroll to the top to select either UK or US (whichever is at the top), hit enter
  6. Select the default for the rest of the options until you exit the configuration window and return to the terminal.
  7. Ignore any of the messages
  8. Type sudo reboot
  9. Wait for Pi to reboot and your @ should be @ again!


2) Removing the SD card from the KeyPi is so damn troublesome
The Problem: Sometimes you want to remove the SD card to change or reinstall the OS, but accessing the SD card requires you to remove the WHOLE keyboard body.
The Solution: Boot from your USB drive. I recommend using a mini USB drive to preserve the compact form factor.


3) Sending an Email is difficult
The Problem: Using an email application with the 3.5" screen is so hard.
The Solution: Send an email through the Terminal! Follow YouTuber Gaven MacDonald's youtube video until 1:30.

Maker Olympics Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Maker Olympics Contest 2016